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THE TASK.

BOOK III.

THE GARDEN

ARGUMENT OF THE THIRD BOOK. Self-recollection, and reproof- Address to domestic hap

piness --Some account of myself—The vanity of many of their pursuits, who are reputed wise-Justification of my censures-Divine illumination necessary to the most expert philosopher- The question, What is truth? answered by other questions ---Domestic happiness ad. dressed again -Few lovers of the country-My tame hare Occupations of a retired gentleman in his garden -Pruning-Framing-Greenhouse--Sowing of flower seeds-The country preferable to the town even in the winter-Reasons why it is deserted at that seasonRuinous effects of gaming and of expensive improve ment-Book concludes with an apostrophe to the metropolis.

As one, who long in thickets and in brakes
Entangled, winds now this way and now that
His devious course uncertain, seeking home;
Or, having long in miry ways been foil'd

And so,e discomfited, from slough to slɔugh
Plunging, and half despairing of escape;
If chance at length he finà a greensward smooth
And faithful to the foot, his spirits rise,
He cherups brisk his ear-erecting steed,
And winds his way with pleasure and with ease.
So I, designing other themes, and call'd
T'adorn the Sofa with eulogium due,
To tell its slumbers, and to paint its dreams,
Have rambled wide. In country, city, seat
Of academic fame, (howe'er deserv’d,)
Long held, and scarcely disengag'd at last :
But now with pleasant pace a cleanlier road
I mean to tread. I feel myself at large,
Courageous, and refresh'd for future toil,
If toil await me, or if dangers new.

Since pulpits fail, and sounding boards reflec
Most part an empty ineffectual sound,
What chance that I, to fame so little known,
Nor conversant with men or manners much,
Should speak to purpose, or with better hope
Crack the satiric thong ? 'Twere wiser far
For me, enamour'd of sequester'd scenes,
And charm'd with rural beauty, to repose
Where chance may throw me, beneath elm or

vine, My languid limbs; when summer sears the

plains; Or, when rough winter rages, on the soft And shelter'd Sofa, while the nitrous air Feeds a blue flame, and makes a eerful

hearth;

There, undisturb'd by Folly, and appriz'd
How great the danger of disturbing her,
To muse in silence, or at least confine
Remarks, that gall so many, to the few
My partners in retreat. Disgust conceal'd.
Is ofttimes proof of wisdom, when the fault
Is obstinate, and cure beyond our reach.

Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
Of Paradise, that has surviv'd the fall!
Though few now taste thee unimpair'd and pure,
Or tasting, long enjoy thee! too infirm,
Or too incautious, to preserve thy sweets
Unmix'd with drops of bitter, which neglect
Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup;
Thou art the nurse of Virtue-in thine arms
She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is,
Heav'n-born, and destin'd to the skies again.
Thou art not known where Pleasure is ador'de
That reeling goddess, with the zoneless waist
And wand'ring eyes, still leaning on the arm
Of Novelty, her fickle, frail support;
For thou art meek and constant, hating change
And finding in the calm of truth-tried love,
Joys that her stormy raptures never yield,
Forsaking thee, what shipwreck have we madu
Of honour, dignity, and fair renown!
Till prostitution elbows us aside
In all our crowded streets; and senates seem
Conven'd for purposes of empire leos
Than to release the adult'ress from her bond.
Th' adult'ress! what a theme for angry verse 1
What provocation to th' indignant heuri.

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